Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Genetically Modified"

One of Alaska Senator Mark Begich's pet peeves and planks in his platform is the labeling of GMO's. The irony is how the root of the problem isn't being addressed: population pressures in conjunction with depleted natural resources mean we as a species have to start getting growing our food elsewhere. This is unfortunately the bed we are collectively making, and after killing off the rest of the damn planet we'll all have to lay in it together.

Alaska's seafood industry is already crippled: can you imagine the collapse if it had to accommodate any additional pressures such as increased demand? It's insanely unsustainable to expect everyone to wallow in some Edenic fantasy where Mother Earth has a bottomless cornucopia which will feed the masses. To whit: there simply isn't enough biomass left in the ocean to sustain us, and we are making matters worse by accelerating the rate of pollution (see this: "The Ocean is Broken").

Measures such as Begich's are stop-gap feel-good gestures that make for politically appealing programs but there's nothing on the other end of the line here. Poisoning the earth, air and water on the planet should first and foremost be the direction to look, and not to put too fine a point on it, fake food is the very last thing the multitude of humans need to worry about. Recent scarey pictures that are making the rounds - nevermind mutant farm animals that we are already aesthetically anesthetized to (not) seeing - but there are millions who would salivate at the sight of such a creature. I mean, it's healthier than the ingredients that would go into the tartar sauce slathered on top!


  1. A) Love the gag.

    B) Love both the B/W and color versions. Oh yeah, and the sketches, too.

    C) You're absolutely right -- there's a lot of fear out there, and it's well-placed. We're overpopulated and overconsuming. Soon there won't be much left. Smart agricultural techniques *can* feed more people, but I sure wish were investing in having *less* need in the first place!

  2. Thanks John - it's not a popular stance, and I truly love supporting locavores, but the reality is disconcerting. Even in our little valley here in the Interior of Alaska the carrying capacity for resources - food and fuel - is a fraction of the current population, and is a daily reminder what thin ice we're on in our community. Presumably many, if not most, other towns & cities are also always precariously balanced on the tipping point of scarcity.

  3. A few months ago, IEEE Spectrum published a series of articles about the future of agriculture and its technological maturation. You might find it interesting:

  4. Thanks for the link - will check it out.

  5. Population became a forbidden topic many years ago. Pollution receives lip service but mostly gets swept under the rug. Not only do powerful commercial interests want to divert attention, most people want to believe they can have their lifestyle and live without restraint.

    Humans are like every other species. We're designed to reproduce exuberantly and die readily. As we head off more and more formerly common forms of mortality we should have compensated by reproducing more thoughtfully. But thoughtfulness is distinctly unnatural. The thoughtful who hold back are vastly outnumbered by guzzling breeders living by their impulses.

  6. One little thing I learned from my tenure in New England was, well, it's the little things: most notably ticks and their host of associated increasingly antibiotic-resistant pathogens which might have a humbling impact on our proliferation. As you said, we are like every other species.